Arsenal Pulp Press, a Canadian firm, will include my short story, McGinty Chapel, in a new anthology titled I Like It Like That, a diverse group of writings that includes essays, short fiction, memoirs and even a cartoon story. It’s edited by Richard Labonte’, one of the best in the business.
When I was thirteen my folks sent me to Florida’s Methodist Youth Fellowship Camp for a two-week stay. I can’t say that I enjoyed it — too much religion and regimentation. But I loved the male camp counselors, most of them high school seniors or college students. The one I liked best was a surfer from Florida’s east coast. His name was Kirby. He looked very similar to the young man in the photo to the left: shaggy blond hair, athletic physique, prominent chin and a turned-up nose. He almost never wore a shirt and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. Kirby was a canoe instructor and I made sure I signed up for his class — twice. (I still recall him looking at me funny: “Marty, why are you taking my course again?”) I can’t remember what sort of excuse I made, but it was good enough to keep me in Kirby’s class. (Even in my youth, I could be quite resourceful when it came to matters of lust.)
My story, McGinty Chapel, takes place at the Methodist Youth camp, and Kirby’s a significant character in my tale. The main character (named Martin, of course) is a closeted college sophomore who takes a summer job as a counselor at the camp. He develops a crush on a fellow counselor (Kirby, of course), but Martin figures he doesn’t stand a chance of getting inside Kirby’s shorts. After all, Kirby’s a masculine surfer and the female counselors at the camp swarm him wherever he goes.
Martin assumes he’s in for a love-starved summer, but one night he visits McGinty Chapel, a small sanctuary located in an isolated portion of the camp. In the moonlit chapel, Martin kneels at the altar. He speaks to God and asks Him for a chance at love with another boy — any boy.
Will the Lord hear Martin’s plea?
Find out when I Like It Like That comes out in October 2009. I’ll announce the publication on this blog when the book goes on the market.